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It was the most expensive barbecue in all history, writes Berlin’s Tageszeitung today about a fete arranged by German Chancellor Angela Merkel for George W. Bush and his entourage in 2006.
On a warm summer evening four years ago, helicopters set down on the Trinwillershagen athletic field and one of the most powerful men of the world walked into the little village with 700 inhabitants. Chancellor Angela Merkel had invited George W. Bush to her home electoral district in Western Pomerania—she planned to offer him a hearty meal of barbecued wild boar and to send the world many harmonious photographs of the gathering. But hardly had the proprietor of the Gasthof zu den Linden removed the boar meat from the skewers when a controversy began in Germany about this “most expensive barbecue in history.” The event did not bring only politicians to Merkel’s constituency. A force of 12,225 policemen from throughout Germany were also deployed to provide security for the state visitors in the region between Rostock and Stralsund.
Who footed the bill? The taxpayers, of course. An administrative court is now dealing with a request for information on the total bill for the event. The security bill alone seems to amount to €5.7 million, while the total approaches €8.7 million ($11 million). And this doesn’t include any of the costs absorbed by the American taxpayers, who of course paid for the small army of Secret Service agents also deployed to the event. The national security state hardly pauses a second over a decision to drop $11 million for a nice barbeque. Security, of course, forms the main course.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
From the June 2014 issue
For the past three years my dosimeter had sat silently on a narrow shelf just inside the door of a house in Tokyo, upticking its final digit every twenty-four hours by one or two, the increase never failing — for radiation is the ruthless companion of time. Wherever we are, radiation finds and damages us, at best imperceptibly. During those three years, my American neighbors had lost sight of the accident at Fukushima. In March 2011, a tsunami had killed hundreds, or thousands; yes, they remembered that. Several also recollected the earthquake that caused it, but as for the hydrogen explosion and containment breach at Nuclear Plant No. 1, that must have been fixed by now — for its effluents no longer shone forth from our national news. Meanwhile, my dosimeter increased its figure, one or two digits per day, more or less as it would have in San Francisco — well, a trifle more, actually. And in Tokyo, as in San Francisco, people went about their business, except on Friday nights, when the stretch between the Kasumigaseki and Kokkai-Gijido-mae subway stations — half a dozen blocks of sidewalk, which commenced at an antinuclear tent that had already been on this spot for more than 900 days and ended at the prime minister’s lair — became a dim and feeble carnival of pamphleteers and Fukushima refugees peddling handicrafts.
One Friday evening, the refugees’ half of the sidewalk was demarcated by police barriers, and a line of officers slouched at ease in the street, some with yellow bullhorns hanging from their necks. At the very end of the street, where the National Diet glowed white and strange behind other buildings, a policeman set up a microphone, then deployed a small video camera in the direction of the muscular young people in drums against fascists jackets who now, at six-thirty sharp, began chanting: “We don’t need nuclear energy! Stop nuclear power plants! Stop them, stop them, stop them! No restart! No restart!” The police assumed a stiffer stance; the drumming and chanting were almost uncomfortably loud. Commuters hurried past along the open space between the police and the protesters, staring straight ahead, covering their ears. Finally, a fellow in a shabby sweater appeared, and murmured along with the chants as he rounded the corner. He was the only one who seemed to sympathize; few others reacted at all.
Number of U.S. congressional districts in which trade with China has produced more jobs than it has cost:
Young bilingual children who learned one language first are likelier than monolingual children and bilingual children who learned languages simultaneously to say that a dog adopted by owls will hoot.
An Oklahoma legislative committee voted to defund Advanced Placement U.S. History courses, accusing the curriculum of portraying the United States as “a nation of oppressors and exploiters.”
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“He could be one of a million beach-bound, black-socked Florida retirees, not the man who, by some odd happenstance of life, possesses the brain of Albert Einstein — literally cut it out of the dead scientist's head.”